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Learning Differences: Some Facts

Learning Differences: Some Facts

What are some of the Learning Differences experienced by Edison students?

  • Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, also known as ADD/ADHD, is a condition that often co-occurs with learning disabilities. Features may include marked overactivity, underactivity, distractibility and/or impulsivity and inattention.
  • Dyslexia is primarily used to describe difficulty with language processing and its impact on reading, writing and spelling.
  • Dysgraphia describes the difficulty of expressing thoughts in writing and graphing.
  • Dyscalculia involves difficulty with math, the abstract concepts of time and direction, and sometimes the location of the numbers on the face of a clock and/or the geographic locations of streets, states, countries, oceans, etc.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD) is primarily used to describe difficulty with nonverbal information, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits in social judgement and social interactions.
  • Visual and Auditory Perception Disorders create difficulty with the process of recognizing and interpreting information received through the senses of sight and hearing.
  • Other neurobehavioral disorders, such as Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a neurological disorder characterized by persistent intrusion of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or the performance of actions, as repeated hand washing, that one is unable to stop (compulsions).

How Do Learning Differences Affect Students?

Learning disabilities interfere with the brain's ability to receive, store, process or produce information.

Mainstream high schools often lack the necessary resources to offer the specialized education that students with learning differences (LD) require. The long-term consequences impact not only those students with LD, but also society as a whole.

A 20-year study identified six key factors that differentiate successful LD students from unsuccessful LD students. They are:

  • Goal setting
  • Self-awareness
  • Perseverance
  • Emotional coping strategies
  • Support systems
  • Proactivity

The study determined that these characteristics "may have a greater influence on success than even such factors as academic achievement, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and even intelligence quotient (IQ)." At Edison, we actively work on all of these areas throughout the four years of high school. Learn more by reading "Life Success for Children with Disabilities: A Parent Guide," published by the Frostig Center.

What Does Success Look like?

At Edison High School, we have simple criteria for measuring the success of our students:

  • Graduation from high school
  • Attending a post-secondary institution and/or working full- or part-time
  • Gaining knowledge and tools that will help the student be able to both accept and advocate for themselves
  • Experiencing personal growth and success

Some Facts about Individuals with Learning Differences (LD):

Students with LDs are not alone! No matter where they go or what they do, they will encounter other people facing similar challenges.
  • In 2011, there were 2.4 million American public school students identified with learning disabilities.
  • 26,600 students in Oregon have learning disabilities. (State of Oregon report, 2014)

Learning to manage and cope with a learning difference is important for a young person, whether or not a family chooses Edison for high school. There is compelling evidence to seek out and acquire the information necessary to successfully manage life—academically, personally and professionally—with a learning difference. Please see our Resources page for local and national informational and support organizations for adults and students.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities published a comprehensive report in 2014 called The State of Learning Disabilities, Third Edition, 2014. Below are a few facts taken from it. To learn more, you can read/download the full report.

  • Students with learning differences have post-high school goals similar to students without LD. However, too few take an active or leadership role in planning for their transition from school. „
  • Students with learning differences are less likely to enroll in post-secondary programs than their nondisabled peers.
  • Students with LD earn lower grades and experience higher rates of course failure in high school than students without learning differences.

Read more: Learning Differences: Some Facts

Programs and Support Organizations

Programs and Support Organizations


    This organization serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities.

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    Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), is a national non-profit organization providing education, advocacy and support for individuals with ADHD. In addition to the website, CHADD also publishes a variety of printed materials to keep members and professionals current on research advances, medications and treatments affecting individuals with ADHD. There is also a Portland Metro Chapter.

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    New location: 6443 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy., Portland, OR 97221 (503) 452-8002

    The Children's Program provides clinical services to children, adolescents and families with developmental, behavioral, emotional, educational and/or certain medical concerns.

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    Decoding Dyslexia Oregon is a grassroots movement driven by Oregon families and educators who recognized the need for conversations with our school districts and policymakers regarding dyslexia. We strive to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children, and improve resources for students with dyslexia in Oregon public schools. There is also a national website.

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    Friends of Quinn is an online community that offers resources and support for young adults with learning differences (LD), as well as for the people who love them. Founded by Quinn Bradlee, filmmaker and author of A Different Life, a book about growing up with LDs, our mission is to connect the LD world.

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    The mission of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) is to help everyone affected by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders to live full and productive lives. The aim of the IOCDF is to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them.

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    This national, non-profit organization advances the education and general welfare of children and adults of normal, or potentially normal, intelligence who manifest disabilities of a perceptual, conceptual or coordinative nature.

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    The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is committed to improving the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by: empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools and creating policy and advocacy impact. We envision a society in which every individual possesses the academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, at work and in life.

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    The Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) staff specializes in diagnosis, assessment, and intervention related to disorders affecting development. CDRC services include comprehensive, multidisciplinary, integrated evaluations; individualized treatment planning; educational and behavioral consultation; and medical and psychopharmacologic interventions.

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    NLD on the Web provides comprehensive resources about Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD), also called Nonverbal Learning Disability, including materials on advocacy, education, and social skills; a library of suggested reading; a glossary; and much more.

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    The International Dyslexia Association is an international organization that concerns itself with the complex issues of dyslexia. The IDA membership consists of a variety of professionals in partnership with dyslexics and their families. There is also an Oregon Branch.

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    Oregon Partnership's mission is to educate and enable Oregonians to build safe and healthy communities by providing and supporting drug and alcohol prevention education and treatment referral services. Programs and services include HelpLine, YouthLink, Resource Library and Community Tools.

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    Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). The website provides information from experts, practical advice and support from parents, and inspiration from successful adults living with LD and ADHD.

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    The Tourette Association of America (formerly known as the Tourette Syndrome Association) is a national non-profit organization working to make life better for all people affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders.

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    Fifteen nonprofit organizations joined forces to support parents of the one in five children with learning and attention issues throughout their journey. With the right support, parents can help children unlock their strengths and reach their full potential. Understood's goal is to help the millions of parents whose children, ages 3–20, are struggling with learning and attention issues. We want to empower them to understand their children's issues and relate to their experiences. With this knowledge, parents can make effective choices that propel their children from simply coping to truly thriving.

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Read more: Programs and Support Organizations


Edison High School
9020 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Highway
Portland, OR 97225

Phone: 503-297-2336
Fax: 503-297-2527

Edison High School is located on the campus of Jesuit High School.

Located in Portland, Oregon, Edison High School is a private school dedicated to meeting the special education needs of Learning Disabled teens (LD teens). Our students' learning differences include dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory processing, visual processing, communication disorders, executive functioning weakness and nonverbal learning disorders.